Breakthrough Performance Foundation SPF 14

by Lorac  
$39 - 1 fl. oz.
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Makeup > Foundations With Sunscreen > Liquid Foundation w/ Sunscreen
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Breakthrough Performance Foundation SPF 14 is meant to be Lorac’s answer to combining high-tech skin care with makeup, but it’s not a merger that translates to gorgeous, healthy skin in any way shape or form. This creamy liquid foundation contains what the company refers to as “SMS Complex,” which they claim will stimulate cell turnover, stimulate collagen production, and create a better support system for skin. Of course none of that is legitimate, because not a single ingredient in this foundation is capable of such feats, at least not in the teeny amounts Lorac included (the amount of tripeptide is nearly zero). The only truly anti-aging element in this foundation is its in-part titanium dioxide sunscreen—but at this point, its inclusion is more a nice me-too than breakthrough! Still, this definitely provides broad-spectrum sun protection.

Outside the claims, you’ll find the best part of Breakthrough Performance is its smooth application and blending. It sets to a satin finish that feels moist, and it’s best for normal to dry skin. The problem is that this foundation tends to emphasize pores and lines, be they superficial or deep. At first the finish looks beautiful, but within minutes it sinks into the slightest depression in skin, calling attention to it in an unflattering way, and this is true for each of the seven shades. For that reason alone, I cannot recommend this foundation over several others.

Active: Octinoxate (5%), Titanium Dioxide (8.85%), Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Behenyl Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Talc, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Glyceryl Ethylhexanoate/Stearate/Adipate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Methicone, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Tripeptide-3, Trisodium Inositol Triphosphate, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

This Los Angeles–based independent cosmetics company launched in 1990 and is the brainchild of makeup artist Carol Shaw (Lorac is "Carol" spelled backwards). It is well-publicized that Shaw has a long list of celebrity clients, but then so do all of the other makeup artists who have their own products lines—there are a lot of famous faces that need attention—so that boast is hardly unique. Compared to competitors Bobbi Brown, Trish McEvoy, or Stila, Lorac doesn't offer the same caliber of foundation colors or the array of products, yet most of what's available is impressive. The company holds its own when it comes to blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick. You will find that, for the most part, the older, established products perform better and are more attractive than many of Shaw's latest inventions. In particular, the latest lipstick, lip gloss, concealer, and waterproof mascara are true disappointments. Lorac hasn't done a great job on the innovation and performance side of the business since the last edition of this book, while her competition (particularly Stila and Laura Mercier) continues to consistently impress. There are still plenty of reasons to shop this line, but focus on the long-standing products rather than on what's new.

For more information about Lorac, call (800) 845-0705 or visit

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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